Broad Left Blogging


Taking a broader perspective…

Two months after the vote: from LibDems to Greens…

The following article was cross-posted from the Hagley Road To Ladywood with the kind permission of Claude, who is a leftist blogger and translator from Birmingham. He blogs about media, culture and politics.

Part four of our post-election series. Let down by the ConDem deal, Jane Watkinson explains why she defected from the LibDems to the Green Party.

[This is a guest post]

When I decided to defect from the LibDems to The Greens, part of me was worried that I had made a mistake. All sorts of questions went through my head: have I gone too early? would it have been better to fight my case within?

I am pleased to say, after around a month of being in The Greens, I am 100% confident my decision was the right one. I have never been so comfortable in arguing my politics – my lefty views were constrained within a party, which has a central outlook/ideology that includes the desirability of a rapidly shrinking state. This is illustrated quite well when considering how much support the LibDems have thrown behind the ‘Big Society’.

If the election was repeated, I would obviously now vote for The Greens. Locally in Leeds, The Greens have formed a minority with the Labour to run the council, and in doing so, reached a very comprehensive agreement with a £30 million housing insulation programme included. Nationally, The Greens picked up their first MP, and arguably would have gained at least one more if the LibDems had not run such a misleading campaign.

Many aspects of the election outcome were hugely disappointing. One of the most central concerns I had/have with the ConDem deal is the LibDems apparent abandonment of their left progressive ideas/policies. Furthermore, they have become very submissive to Tory pressure when it comes to key lefty issues/policies such as capital gains tax and the now very regressive nature of the income threshold rise – as the progressive LibDem policies that were going to be used to pay for it have since been dropped and thus, it will be funded largely out of regressive public spending cuts.

These latter developments only confirmed my earlier concerns I had with the initial proposals that saw them drop key central policies and adopt what to me was all but for the smallest of details a Tory manifesto. Whilst the Tories still complain of how hard done by they are, they forget that the LibDems had to accept key policies watered down (e.g. income threshold and AV), key policies abandoned (e.g. immigration and Europe), key policies being sent to often pointless commissions (e.g. breaking up the banks, House of Lords reform) and also having to give up any chance of opposing controversial decisions (e.g. marriage tax and tuition fee raises).

It is hard to find positives from the ConDem deal. Regardless, they have scrapped ID cards and the building of a third runway at Heathrow, whilst proceeding with a more open government and genuinely reversing the assault of civil liberties from the previous Labour government. However, this would have happened without the LibDems, as they were all key Tory proposals. Furthermore, other policies, such as the marriage tax, are undermining progressive moves in extending civil rights, as we see the state becoming more influential in people’s personal life.

For the progressive left to make successful inroads in this centre-right neo-liberal government, we need to see an advancement of pluralism. The left really need to work together in this, tribalism should be reduced as much as possible so the fight for a fairer and sustainable economy and society is advanced and achieved.


Filed under: Green Party, Liberal Democrats, , , , , , , , , ,

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